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Beijing 2022 Spotlights the New Highland for Global Innovation and Human Solidarity

Apr 18, 2022
  • Ouyang Ruize

    Research Analyst, Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding of Peking University

The 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have come to a successful conclusion after seven years of assiduous preparations and twenty-five days of invigorating competitions. Beijing, the only "Dual Olympic City” in history, once again drew the whole world's eyes and applause, for exhibiting such an extraordinary event of sports and culture in the midst of the global pandemic despite uncertainties and difficulties, with nearly 3,400 athletes from more than 100 countries and regions participating to sweat for honor and unite as one. 

As Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed at the Review and Awards Ceremony last week, China has fulfilled its solemn promise to ensure the delivery of streamlined, safe, and splendid Games, and has the ability and enthusiasm to make even greater contributions. Much to everyone's amazement, a stunning chapter for winter sports on ice and snow has been unfolded henceforth. 

Sci-tech breakthroughs empower the Winter Games 

It is worth asking: what is devoted to the huge accomplishments of planning, hosting, and managing this glorious event? It certainly can not be apart from policy momentum, resource guarantee, management competency, epidemic control, and all the dedications from different walks of life, wherein technological innovation and its varied utilization came to head the bill. 

Concerning the high technicality of sports infrastructures, it takes plentiful work and cost to hold an Olympic event, especially the Winter one, that accordingly requires the host country to possess a muscular capacity in science and technology. Given the goal of “Sci-tech Olympics” was proposed since the bidding, Beijing 2022 has made intensified efforts to research and develop green, intelligent, and people-friendly technologies – a rough sum of 80 projects and 212 assets, which were widely applied during the operation, demonstration and many other processes throughout the Games. 

In particular, numerous “firsts” were rolled and chalked up this time to hit record highs - the first torch relay operated by smart robots underwater; the first high-speed railway line fully accompanied by 5G signals; the first direct-current mains equipped with multi-energy complementation and network characteristics; the first “Cloud Olympics” with 100% coverage on the match broadcast and information release; the first direct-cooled icemaking system in a transcritical carbon dioxide cycle implemented on four stadiums, notably the only-new construction of the Speed Skating Oval “Ice Ribbon”; and the list goes wildly on. 

Carbon neutrality: a defining feature of global innovation 

One of the most legendary moments we would never forget: the huge-snowflake-shaped Cauldron was unprecedentedly ignited with, not a luxurious burst of roaring blaze, but a micro flame as the last torch itself, which is fueled by hydrogen power with barely 1/5,000th carbon emissions of the previous ceremony. 

Astounding as it may seem, it has hitherto been the most modest ignition, yet creative and epochal enough to start a new era towards carbon neutrality with a wholehearted commitment to green innovation, and more stupendously, to set a prairie fire of enlightenment in boosting greater solidarity for humankind and maintaining a more sounded and harmonious relationship with the Mother Nature. 

Unswervingly abided by the principles of “sustainability” brought in 2014 and the “dual carbon” target, the Beijing Committee has robustly established systematic carbon emission accounting methods and implemented multiple measures in two major directions: one is carbon emission reduction such as low-carbon snowmaking, renewable energy transportation, and green renovation of existing sites “Ice Cube” and “Big Air Shougang”; the other is carbon offset, including the 100% green electricity application conveyed from Zhangbei, forestry carbon sinks through local donations, certified reduction sponsorship of the enterprises, and lower carbon consumption by the public. 

These green pledges with concrete actions were warmly lauded by Thomas Bach and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., and stamped to fashion the very first "carbon-neutral" Olympics, significantly evincing China's strong determination and unremitting endeavors in promoting ecological civilization and sustainable development to pursue a prosperous, green and beautiful planet. 

Based on human need, Cares for common good  

Facts have proved that technical elements were practically and intensely embodied with human-centric philosophy into solid work across the Games. Apropos of people’s health and well-being, Beijing 2022 prioritized epidemic prevention and control via comprehensively accoutering intelligent devices, namely smart robots, aerosol detectors, wearable thermometers, superparticle disinfectors and so forth. Otherwise, it would be hardly attainable that the final positive rate of nucleic acid tests in the closed-loop was merely 0.01%, let alone there was no clusters of cases or cross-infection by any means. 

Reliability is also a vital need to be guarded considering the Games as a high-maintenance complex. For instance, a geotechnical identification mode with AI patrols was created to provide dynamic monitoring and early warning of potential risks and disasters; microchip labels hinged on blockchain and cryptographic anchoring techniques have ensured the whole process of food safety from farm to table is extensively traceable in real time; and a high-standard, all-weather and full-dimensional cybersecurity defense wall has earnestly protected the entire event from 5,782 internet holes and almost 240 million cyber attacks. 

When the contestants of different countries shared their lives in the Olympic Village on social media, it was beyond phenomenal that ubiquitous posts of high-tech rooms, magic beds, VR entertainment, and their rousing explorations received countless “thumb-ups” from global netizens. Footing on the improvement of quality, salubrity, and comfortability, Beijing 2022 has deeply underlined and exerted sci-tech strengths in diversified scenarios, such as 5G smart medical service and AI cloud training/judging scheme for better sportive performance; big-data design of culinary menus for both balanced nutrition and gastronomic delight; and venue simulation and 8K broadcast for finer viewing experience. 

Ushers in a brighter future 

Staged on fastidious groundwork and flawless presentation, the curtain of Winter Games gently descended as the last batch of staff and volunteers came out of the closed loop. From 2008 to 2022, the world has witnessed another milestone of China in the course of the Olympics, for its outstanding exemplar in the beauty of winter sports that has charmed about 346 million civilians’ involvement, and in the meantime, for the magnificent display of prolonged, brilliant and gorgeous Chinese culture brimmed in opening/closing ceremonies and every quarter of the Games. 

Panoramically, sci-tech has been a critical prerequisite to the fulfillment of this grand gathering, and its invaluable legacies, will not just underpin the high-quality, self-alliance, and carbon-neutral development at home with endogenous impetus, but further pioneer a steadfast, unparalleled, and transformative innovation at a wider international level, and more profoundly, flourish a benchmarking seed on the inheritance of human spirit - unity, talent, peace, cooperation, and inclusiveness - that has never been more prominent in the post-COVID world compounded with turbulence and crisis, to usher in a brighter, coherent and shared future for all. 

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